Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 5, 2012, 2:28 p.m. EST by cubedemon
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
There are certain things that I see as wrong with this country and its cultural standards and moral values that a good chunk of the American population have today. The standards and values are not problems in of themselves but the extremeness to which they are applied and to whom they are applied. The main one is called responsibility. This value and standard has to go with other values especially the value called trust. We also have humility and submission of will. Another we standard we have in America is practicality.
Here are definitions as to what trust and personal responsibility are. Trust is a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something:” It also means “acceptance of the truth of a statement without evidence or investigation. “ Responsibility is “the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone”(oxford online) It also means “the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.”
Our American society is not just based upon facts, rules and procedures. American Society is based upon relationships. There many different types of relationships. A few examples are mother to child, father to child, husband to wife, grandparents to grandchildren and uncle and aunt to nieces and nephews. Relationships aren’t just based on family. In addition, we have teacher to student, employer to employee, supervisor to supervisee, and others as well. We have countless amounts of relationships that exist in America and the world today. These relationships are the actual glue that holds American society together. A lot of relationships that exist in America today are hierarchical.
In order for a relationship to be strong there has to be a certain level of trust especially in a hierarchical one. Trust has to accompany honesty and honesty means “the quality of being honest:” Being honest means “free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere.” In a hierarchical relationship, one has to submit his will to governing authority. For example, a child has to submit his or her will to his or her parents. An employee eventually has to submit his or her will to the employer.
There is something that is returned from this and this could be called a mutually agreed upon implicit contract. In this contract, the person on the lower rung should expect and rightfully expect that those on the higher rung of this hierarchy will be honest in what they say or do. Not only should it be free from deceptions and lies but it has to be free as it can be from error. If there is an error what does the person on the lower rung do if there is an error or a deception made if the person has to submit his will to different authority figures in many hierarchical relationships?
Based upon the roles in a hierarchical relationship I can’t agree with what personal responsibility advocates say about personal responsibility especially when it comes to college. I believe they are wrong on this and other issues like this as well. It is those who are higher up who have more responsibility and more accountability than those on the lower rung. This is because they have power over those on the lower rungs are in submission to them. With submission trust has to follow towards those on the higher rung. If trust is broken either through deceit or through error it is those who are higher up in the relationship hierarchy that are personally responsible and accountable to those they are in charge of. There are those who say one should not expect this whatsoever and I believe this is morally wrong and immoral. The reasoning is this if a person has to verify what those on the higher rung has to say then this means he is automatically calling into question the person’s trustworthiness. In effect, they’re being called a liar and are guilty until proven innocent. In America, are we not innocent until proven guilty at least in a court of law?
Another reason trust has to exist is the impracticality of the lack of trust. If the standard is that one is responsible for verification of facts then one has to verify what he verifies. The reason for this is because this person has to verify that the source who states something is not lying and is not dishonest. This means this person who is on the lower rung of the relationship hierarchy would have to prove negatives. Proving a negative is impractical. Is it practical to prove that invisible and pink unicorns do not exist? What about the entire universe?
I believe that the values a lot of people have are correct but only to a certain extent. Responsibility is being taken to an extreme that it should not be taken to. Responsibility has its sisters and brothers and they are honesty, trust, accountability, submission of will, humility, and practicality. In order for society to be a functional society balance has to exist amongst different values that are not limited here. In effect, shouldn't we all be able to give our words as gentlemen and ladies and it would be as good as gold?